The son of Israel Electric Corporation chairman Yiftah Ron-Tal was in talks with developers of the first planned Palestinian city, with whom he discussed possible work on a fiber optic network and a sewage system.
Ido Ron-Tal owns R-Ticam, which specializes in importing and selling mechanical equipment for engineering projects, and earthworks company H. Hagorsim, met about six months ago with Bashar Masri, the businessman who is the driving force behind the planned West Bank city of Rawabi.
“They told me they would be delighted if I took part in the project,” Ron-Tal told TheMarker.
However, he has not put in any bids or signed any deals for Rawabi, which is expected to become home to between 25,000 and 40,000 people and will be 12 kilometers from Ramallah. Masri and the Qatari company LDR are investing $850 million in its construction.
Ron-Tal said he did not expect to take part in the fiber optic project because it was outside his companies' focus.
“My father and I decided that I can speak to whomever I want without his approval,” said Ron-Tal, who took over the infrastructure companies from his father when Yiftah Ron-Tal became chairman of the electric company in 2010. “However, because of the sensitivity and because my father is in a bit of a panic, I promised him that I wouldn’t sign a deal before informing him."
Yiftah Ron-Tal is a retired major general in the Israel Defense Forces and former commander of the Ground Forces Command who was involved in the fighting during the first intifada and Operation Defensive Shield in 2002. He lives in the West Bank settlement of Ofra.
The developer, Bashar Masri, said in response that "The developers of Rawabi are not and were not in talks with [Ron-Tal] to develop any part of the infrastructure at Rawabi. Mr. Ron-Tal did visit Rawabi as a guest. In the context of his visit, the importance of modern fiber optic network and wastewater treatment facilities to the city were raised. At no time did his remarks reference contracts or bidding on work at Rawabi, nor did the developer reference these topics. Both of these networks are currently under construction."